Victoria Jane Nuland (born 1961) is the Assistant Secretary of State for European and Eurasian Affairs at the United States Department of State.
Nuland is the daughter of Yale bioethics and medicine professor Sherwin B. Nuland, the family's original surname being Nudelman. She graduated from Choate Rosemary Hall in 1979 and has a B.A. from Brown University. Nuland is married to historian Robert Kagan, with whom she has two children. Nuland speaks Russian, French, and some Chinese.
Nuland has had a long career in the Foreign Service and has worked for both Democratic and Republican administrations. During the Bill Clinton administration, Nuland was chief of staff to Deputy Secretary of State Strobe Talbott before moving on to serve as deputy director for former Soviet Union affairs. During the George W. Bush administration, she served as the principal deputy foreign policy adviser to Vice President Dick Cheney and then as U.S. ambassador to NATO. During the Barack Obama administration, she was special envoy for Conventional Armed Forces in Europe before assuming the position of State Department spokesperson in summer 2011, which she held until February 2013.
She was nominated to serve as Assistant Secretary of State for European and Eurasian Affairs in May 2013 and sworn in to fill that role in September 2013.
2014 Ukraine/EU conversation
On 6 February 2014[nb 1] Nuland became part of a diplomatic scandal, when one of her January 2014 conversations with the U.S. Ambassador to Ukraine, Geoffrey R. Pyatt, was apparently intercepted and uploaded to YouTube.[nb 2] In discussion about how to handle crises in Ukraine, Nuland remarked, "Fuck the E.U." and Pyatt responded, "Oh, exactly,...".[nb 3][nb 4] A spokeswoman for EU foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton stated (the same day) that the EU would not comment on a "leaked alleged" conversation.[nb 5] The next day a spokeswoman, Christiane Wirtz, stated that German Chancellor Angela Merkel termed Nuland's remark "absolutely unacceptable."
State Department Spokesman Jen Psaki
Jennifer Rene "Jen" Psaki (pronounced /sɑːkiː/) (born 1978) is the spokesperson for the United States Department of State and a former spokesperson for U.S. President Barack Obama
Born in Stamford, Connecticut, Psaki graduated from Greenwich High School in 1996 and the College of William & Mary in 2000 and is a member of the Chi Omega sorority. At William & Mary, Psaki was a backstroke swimmer for the William & Mary Tribe for two years.
Psaki began her career in 2001 with the re-election campaigns of Iowa Democrats Tom Harkin and Tom Vilsack. Psaki then became deputy press secretary for John Kerry's 2004 presidential campaign. From 2005 to 2006, Psaki served as communications director to U.S. Representative Joseph Crowley and regional press secretary for the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee.
Throughout the 2008 presidential campaign of U.S. Senator Barack Obama, Psaki served as traveling press secretary. After Obama won the election, Psaki followed Obama to the White House as Deputy Press Secretary and was promoted to Deputy Communications Director on December 19, 2009. Psaki left that position on September 22, 2011 to become senior vice president and managing director at the Washington, D. C. office of public relations firm Global Strategy Group.
In 2012, Psaki returned to political communications as press secretary for President Obama's 2012 re-election campaign. On February 11, 2013, Psaki became spokesperson for the United States Department of State. Her hiring at the Department of State has fueled speculation that she is likely to replace White House Press Secretary Jay Carney when he leaves the White House.
US embarrassed by apparent hacked phone call dismissing EU on Ukraine
What appears to be a hacked phone conversation between top US officials about Ukraine, in which the EU is dismissed in crude terms, has been posted on the Internet.
The comments are attributed to the US Assistant Secretary of State Victoria Nuland – who met President Yanukovych and opposition leaders separately in Kyiv on Thursday.
The date and precise context of the recording are not known.
In the video, posted on YouTube, Nuland and the US ambassador to Ukraine Geoffrey Pyatt discuss which of the country’s opposition leaders they would like to see in government – and refer to getting the UN involved in the process to resolve the political crisis.
In the recording the conversation is then as follows:
Victoria Nuland: “So that would be great, I think, to help glue this thing and have the UN help glue it and you know…” At this point she uses a swear word to dismiss the EU.
Geoffrey Pyatt: “Exactly. And I think we’ve got to do something to make it stick together because you can be pretty sure that if it does start to gain altitude, the Russians will be working behind the scenes to try to torpedo it.”
The video, entitled “Maidan’s Puppets” in Russian, also has a transcript in Russian.
The US State Department said it did not know where the recording came from. But it criticised Moscow for publicising it – while being suitably contrite towards the European Union.
“We work incredibly closely with the EU and with representatives of the EU and Assistant Secretary Nuland certainly does as it relates to Ukraine. And she’s been in close contact with EU High Representative Ashton. Also let me convey that she has been in contact with her EU counterparts and of course has apologised,” said State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki.
A spokeswoman for the EU foreign policy chief told euronews that Brussels would not comment on a “leaked alleged phone conversation”.
The video clearly aims to embarrass the US, echoing Moscow’s accusations that the West is meddling in Ukraine.